Dr. John J. Dickey's Diary

Number 67 In A Series:

Editor's Note: We continue our series of interviews taken from Dr. John J. Dickey's famous diary. Dr. Dickey of Fleming County, founder of several schools and churches, traveled throughout Eastern and Central Kentucky some 100 years ago, interviewing older residents. In most cases, he wrote down their very words, while compiling a diary of several thousand pages. Each month we include a few lines from this remarkable man's diary, which he kept faithfully for over 50 years.

Manchester, Kentucky

December 3, 1897

I went to London Tuesday and returned today. I adjusted a number of matters pertaining to the school, boxed my books, and arranged things, so that I think it will not be necessary for me to go back. Everything moves on well.

I had long conferences with Prof. Lewis regarding the management of affairs, and I am much pleased with his plans. Miss Lucinda B. Helm, the founder of the Women's Parsonage and Home Mission Society, M. E. Church S., who recently died, left $250 to build a cottage for the Sue Bennett Memorial. Prof. Lewis feels that she deserves a more pretentious monument and proposes to raise the amount to $1,000 or $1,500 and make a building, whose story should be a home for the lady teachers, and the first story to be rooms for cooking, sewing, and other things that is for teaching these subjects. I am sure her name will be God's magnet to draw the money.

I found a card from Bro. L. L. Pickett saying that he will be here next Tuesday, the 7th, to stay over Sunday. Oh, Lord, give the victory, for without Thee we can do nothing.

I regretted to learn that the sale of whiskey is being clandestinely carried on in London. This is a great evil and will be a disadvantage to our school. Vigorous measures should be taken to suppress it. Two years ago, it was more difficult to get a drink of liquor in London than in any other town in Kentucky. This I learned from a drummer, who used to drink, but has since quit. It should still be that way.

There has been a decline in the piety of the people that is the secret of the trouble. The sentiment of a community is molded by the Christian people in it. If they are dull, apathetic, and listless, sin will abound, and the devil be bold. There is no doubt the truth of this proposition. We must have fire-baptized people to make healthy, moral sentiment. When Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth," He announced this same thought. Savorless salt is the negative cause of the rottenness of the wickedness of the community. Professors of religion, who inform the newcomer of the wickedness of the community, tell the story of their own unfaithfulness.

While at London, I found a home for Miss Georgia Stivers, a young lady at Benge, who wishes to get out where she can do something for herself. There are many such in this mountain land. She wants an education. I have found her a place as a domestic, with Mrs. Lucy J. Williams, a merchant of London and a splendid Christian woman. I also got a scholarship for Miss Ellen Morgan, of this place.

Prof. Lewis has been in the Bluegrass and has gotten already four scholarships and will get many more. This is the hope of these mountains. Praise God that after 30 years of effort I have reached the goal of my ambition, viz. to get to where I could help the deserving and aspiring. I think I can see the time approaching when I can help scores and even hundreds of these people. God is showing the church her opportunity, and she is slowly seeing that her opportunity is her duty. Oh, Lord, incline the people of means to help these needy ones. It is pretty evident that London will pay the debt of $1,500 on the college. Five hundred dollars are paid, and another $500 will be collected in a short time. A note will be necessary for the rest, but Judge Boyd has given us pretty good assurance that he will pay it. I find Bro. May has been hard at work during my absence, visiting the people and talking and praying with them. He is a blessed man, full of the Holy Ghost, and is being used of God in this needy field to His glory. He says that if it is God's will, he is ready to spend his life here in the mountains. The people of Hyden expected us last Saturday. I had led them to think we might be there by that time.

Manchester, Kentucky

December 6, 1897

I borrowed a horse from Dr. Manning Saturday afternoon, went out to Mr. Carnahan's house, stayed all night, and went to Benge yesterday morning; but it was the preaching day of the "Campbellites." I got in a talk in reviewing the Sunday School lesson, and at the close of the service, conducted by Elder Cornet, I dined at Bro. Brigman's house. I saw Miss Georgia Stivers and told her I had a home for her at Mrs. Lucy J. Williams, in London, which news was gratefully received. She goes next Thursday. I trust she will develop into a useful woman. She is bright, good-looking, and religious. Bro. Brigman's family were very appreciative of my efforts to educate Helen, their daughter. Miss Stivers is her cousin. They will be company for each other at London. I returned to Mr. Carnahan's and stayed all night and came home this morning.

Bro. Pickett wrote Saturday that he would not come Tuesday, but later. This confuses me. I had dodgers printed for Tuesday, but the Lord is in it, and all will be well. Oh, Lord, give salvation to these people. Bro. May had a good day here yesterday.

Manchester, Kentucky

December 8, 1897

Last Sunday, a number of the leading young men of the town and county were drunk on the streets. They were fighting, yelling, and brawling. Yesterday, the sheriff-elect, Bev White, Jr., and William Treadway, ex-marshal, emptied their revolvers at each other, but nobody was hurt.

Today, some man was drunk and shooting on the street. He met Mrs. Burchell and the girls coming to church tonight and shot on the highway. Thus, things go. Monday the petition was filed, but this cannot relieve us for 12 months. Oh, that we might get the saloon keepers converted.

I have been at Col. D. Y. Lyttle's for the last 24 hours, writing up his life and much else of mountain history. He is in his 80th year. I got a lot of valuable information. This afternoon, Bro. L. L. Pickett and Dr. McDonald came to receive Dr. Burchell's three daughters and Miss Emma Lyttle into the Presbyterian Church. They were converted in one meeting. He goes back tomorrow. I got him up a good audience by going to each house after sundown. Bro. Pickett is feeble. He sang tonight and talked a minute or so, at my request, at the close of the service, about the meeting. We must have it, or we fail. He has promised it, if we only believe. Oh, for the faith of an Abraham! Nothing short of it is equal to the work here. Sin and the devil reign. The town is under a curse and has been for 50 years. Oh, for its deliverance from these hard masters. Oh, for the holy fire to fall on my heart and fit me for this work! God, send the fire on us all!

Home | Covers | Story | Things | Contents | Index | Samples | Genealogy
Features | Happenings | Books | Historical Societies | Sale | Links | Hot